FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2021
Contact: Parisa Norouzi, Executive Director, Empower DC – (202) 553-9326
Bowser Comp Plan Proposals Scored on Displacement, Housing Equity, Community Involvement, UpFLUMing
–Grassroots Coalition Issues Housing Justice Amendments
Mayor Bowser’s 1500-page amendments to the city’s chief planning guide, the Comprehensive Plan (CompPlan), gets low marks from the DC Grassroots Planning Coalition (DCGPC), a prominent citywide planning organization.
“The Mayor’s Comp Plan changes do nothing to stop displacement, provide deeply affordable housing, or promote community-led equitable development,” said Parisa Norouzi, Executive Director of Empower DC, which leads the DCGPC. “As we show in our new Housing Justice Amendments, the Mayor’s CompPlan changes are wrong and harmful for a city in a housing crisis. They serve only the peculiar alliance between her administration and developers.”
As DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson brings the Comp Plan to a vote next month, DCGPC’s Housing Justice Amendments summarize its opposition. Changes to the Future Land Use Map, or FLUM, will:
- Circumvent community planning, such as Small Area Plans, which should inform and be in place prior to changes to the FLUM;
- Are typically development-driven and site-specific without relevance to overall community priorities;
- Typically put forth without notice to or approval by ANCs and other impacted community bodies;
- Creates a domino effect, setting the stage for up-zoning on the site in question as well as surrounding properties;
- Fails to assess potential harms to neighboring residents – For example, property tax assessments change based on density change, which can affect the land value assessment for nearby properties and cause people to be displaced due to increased taxes;
- Circumvents the Planned United Development (PUD) process where impacted communities have standing and can negotiate Community Benefit Agreements (CBAs). Instead, projects may be “matter of right” avoiding a PUD altogether;
- UpFLUMing in Barry Farm, Crummell School, and other areas will harm community organizing efforts to achieve equitable outcomes;
- Some of OP’s proposed FLUM changes are to privately-owned property and are being done without notice or consent of the property owners. For example, Christ United Methodist Church at 900 4th St, SW was surprised to learn they are being UpFlLUMed and have specifically stated their opposition to this land use change for the church property.
Added Empower DC’s Norouzi, “As the Comp Plan process moves toward completion, we urge DC Councilmembers to understand the impact this document will have on the city’s development in the years to come. We must not continue the same development model that has led to the displacement of over 40,000 Black DC residents. We must not promote build-more policies under the guise of affordable housing. If we are serious about racial equity, we must strengthen the Comp Plan to ensure racially equitable development outcomes.”
DCGPC is a citywide body of individuals and organizations united around principles of racially equitable community-led development. Since Spring 2017 we have convened monthly, engaging over 1,200 residents in analysis of DC’s housing and development issues. We have supported the engagement of hundreds of DC residents throughout the amendment process of the Comprehensive Plan, by providing regular updates, creating opportunities for learning and engagement, and mobilizing testimonies at the 2018 and 2020 DC Council hearings.
For more information about our Comp Plan Housing Justice Amendments and the work of the DC Grassroots Planning Coalition, go to https://www.empowerdc.org/comp_plan or http://www.dcgrassrootsplanning.org.